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Randomised controlled trial
Compared with usual care, supervised exercise in primary care for people with patellofemoral syndrome does not significantly increase self-reported recovery but improves pain and function in the short term and pain in the long term
  1. Bill Vicenzino
  1. Correspondence to Bill Vicenzino
    Division of Physiotherapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus, 4072 Queensland, Australia; b.vicenzino{at}

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Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a condition of youth, frequently bilateral1 and a significant problem with high incidence among active university students (9%) and military recruits (15%).2 3 A long-term follow-up study reported that 94% of patients experienced some pain 2–4 years later, and 25% of these patients reported significant symptoms over 20 years.4 Although long-term musculoskeletal pain is not life threatening, the negative consequences for physical activity may have downstream implications for general health and well-being, potentially contributing to hypokinetic diseases or impeding their management through physical activity programmes.

This paper is much needed as it reports a quality randomised controlled trial (RCT) that evaluated a supervised exercise programme against the Dutch GP wait-and-see approach. The investigators implemented a well-designed RCT and recruited patients within an appropriate age range (131 patients, aged 14–40 years) using sound inclusion and exclusion …

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  • Competing interests None.